Monday, June 25, 2012

Yabba Dabba Dooooo!!!!!

WG is staying at her school!
Turns out the district was waiting on me.  They basically said "So, ah, whaddaya want?" And I said, "Um, like, I TOTALLY want her to stay where she is?" And they were all, "Um, OK!"  And I was like, "Cool."

OK, the language was a bit more sophisticated, but that was the gist, and everybody's happy.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

I's Been One Week

Since you looked at me, dropped your hands to your sides & said "You're crazy..."

OK, life is not a Barenaked Ladies song, as much as we sometimes may wish it were.  But it HAS been a week since we moved, and things are settling.  We still have a good bit of our lives in boxes, crates, and bags, but the kids are settling in and we got the pool set up today.  It's about 2 1/2 feet deep, 12 feet in diameter, and we had to drag them out after 3 hours when their lips turned blue.
Yesterday LG nearly set the house on fire trying to make microwave popcorn, and this morning WG upended the contents of the dogs' water bowl onto the kitchen floor. So they're making themselves right at home.
Oh, and we have our cable set up.

The only loose end right now is WG's school.  She went to the district summer school class one day last week, and I observed for a while.  She enjoyed it, the teacher is great, but it is ABSOLUTELY the WRONG placement for her!  All the other kids are verbal, for one thing.  It doesn't have the kind on one-on-one attention she desperately needs right now,  and it is simply too advanced for her.  Case in point: the teacher handed out pencils, paper, and sunflower seeds, then had he kids put 3 seeds on the paper.  She then told them to take away 1 seed and write down how many they had left.  WG cannot do ANY of that! The classroom aid had to do it all for her.  There's no point in having her stay in a class like that.  I just hope the district realizes it and agrees to allow her to stay at her current school.  If not, I'll have to invoke the "Stay Put" rule, then bring a lawyer to all of her IEPs.  Which would suck.  But I'll do it if I have to.
I just HATE this waiting!!!!!!!! It makes me feel powerless!
The good news is that LG seems to be enjoying his class.  He sang a solo in class the other day  :) :) :) :), and I think his placement for the Fall will be PERFECT!
Have I written this before?  If so, forgive me.  I's been a heck of a week.  Right after the move I got sick as a dog. Feeling MUCH better now, thankfully!  I hate being sick.  I become even more of a wuss than usual.

Yesterday I was able to teach my mat class, then I went for a nice (mostly uphill) walk through the neighborhood. Tonight we're celebrating my in-laws' wedding anniversary, which was Friday.  AND, it's my brother and S-I-L's anniversary today.

The other day I heard that The National Theatre's "Frankenstein" will be screening more throughout the summer.  I REALLY want to see the reverse casting.  I'm also holding out hope for a DVD release one day...
Who, me?  Obsessive?

 OK, I'm back.  Took a break to watch "The Newsroom."  EXTREMELY well done, and will now be my regular Sunday night viewing.  Aaron Sorkin, Emily Mortimer AND Sam Waterston?  Count me in!

Anyway.  gotta go bathe.  Have I mentioned the jacuzzi tub in the last few posts?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

OK, This:

It was written on a friend's Facebook page last night:

"If you spend more time enjoying the works of geniuses, then the products of your own mind won't be inane. Trust me, before I developed my manic reading habits, I didn't have much in the way of interesting thoughts, insight, etc. I would imagine it is similar with any kind of art or thinking. Your mind is what your mind eats."

I think that last sentence should be a bumper sticker.  It's definitely my new motto.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

We're Heeeeeeere!

Our first night as full-time residents in our new home!  Hubby and I will go back to the old place tomorrow to get the last of our things & clean up, but we're sort-of-officially moved in.  Granted, there are boxes, bags & bins all over the place, but the kids are tucked into bed, the dog is outside (it's REALLY hot out tonight!), and our computer is linked to the new wireless, so it's pretty much settled.
Earlier I went for a walk and was very enthusiastically greeted by, first, a golden retriever, and later by a yellow lab.  I think it's a good omen.
LG starts summer school on Monday (!), and hopefully we'll know whether WG is able to stay put within a few days.  Of course, I'm going to invoke the "Stay Put" rule if need be, but I'm hoping that won't be necessary.  I'm looking to have as good a relationship with this school district as we had with the last one.
(I've already them with cookies.  I have no shame!)

I must say I'm really happy to be here!  We took a last swim in our old pool today (very crowded due to the heat), and I cannot wait until we get our own pool. Granted, it's a 3-4 foot inflatable, but it'll be ours!  I've ALWAYS wanted a pool, and now we have a secure, gated area to put one in!
As we were leaving we had the kids say goodbye to the old house.  LG got really sad, but when we got here he said "This is our new home."  It'll take a while, but I think he understands and is trying to accept it.
(WG seems VERY content, luckily!)
Then I had a good cry over the fact that soon, someone will paint over the drawings LG did on his walls when he was 5, as well as the hand prints he put on OUR wall a couple years later.

I love that we are within walking distance to just about everything:  LG's school, 2 nice parks, a downtown area with grocery stores (including Trader Joe's, YAHOO!), the post office, bank, drug store, etc.  We have a real downtown area here, and can even get to BART and Caltrain very quickly.  We're closer to the city, as well.  So if Hubby & I want to do date night, we can either walk downtown or hop the train into San Francisco.

And have I mentioned the live-in babysitters?

Right now I'm feeling pretty optimistic.  I'm almost afraid to write that, but I'm trying to start a new habit: positive thinking, lol!  Believing that good things WILL happen, and not expecting the worst.

So.  Here we are.  We're waiting for an overly-excited WG to get tired and fall asleep, and then we can follow suit.
Hopefully that will happen soon.  Mommy's tired!  :)

G'night, all.
Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"I'm So Tired of Being Good!"

If you don't recognize the title, it's from "Crybaby."
It's also something I realized this morning.
I'm not tired of trying to be respectful, or treating people well (TRYING being the operative word here), but of being such a freakin' goody-goody.  Trying to figure out The Rules and then follow Them.  Of behaving.
It's not like I want to go out and knock over a liquor store or anything.  I just want to challenge things.  Shake 'em up a bit.  Ask questions.  Maybe cause other people ask questions.

I was watching a biopic about Stephen Hawking when I realized this.  HE didn't behave, or accept the status quo, or act like a good little boy.  Hell, he didn't even listen to his doctors and die, like he was supposed to!
I don't pretend to understand physics, but I've been fascinated with astronomy and space (and the possibility of time travel, natch) since I was little.  Not that I understand that well, either.  Although I used to.  Einstein's Theory of Relativity used to be so obvious to me, but I've lost that.  Seriously, I just GOT it.  What happened to that part of my brain? (Actually, I think I still understand it, but I have to think about it a bit first.)
Einstein was another fellow who questioned.
Susan B. Anthony, Marie Curie, Galileo, Rosa Parks, even my own grandmother, who was the only female lawyer in D.C. in the late 1940's.  And the only person who would speak to the African-American elevator operator in her building, as well.  Of course, very few of her colleagues spoke to HER unless it was necessary...

I believe there are a lot of similarities between art and science. And that people who are passionate change the world. They don't behave.  They don't sit quietly. Me?  I'm scared at the prospect of demanding my daughter stay in her current school, even though the law says I have that right!
Because I'm so damn.GOOD.

I wasn't ALWAYS like this.  When I was a kid I tore around the neighborhood on my bike (or skateboard) without fear. I tore holes in my hours-old shoes.  I chased after squirrels and tried to pet them (poor things). And then I LEARNED.  That it was BAD.  Don't want to get singled out, or punished, or yelled at, or held after school.  G-d forbid anyone get mad at me or *gasp* DISAGREE with something I've said!
But then came the post-college years, the years when the people who'd hired me encouraged "misbehaving."  Questioning, arguing, and not always having the answers but being willing to look for them, and to listen. To know that I was interesting and beautiful, just by being who I am  And helping our students do and know the same.
Then came grad school, and I turned back into the Good Girl.  In. L.A., well, by now you all know what happened there.  And then I became a mom, and threw everything into taking care of my kids.  Then the diagnoses, and I tried to be The Perfect Mom.

I want to find the old feeling again.  One night, during a solstice celebration 19 years ago, a group of us, just for the fun of it, danced around to an impromptu drumbeat and howled at the moon, surrounded by candles.  And it WAS fun! I want to experience that again.  I want the feeling of racing down the hill on my Big Wheels, or hopping around on my Hoppity Horse (Best. Toy. Ever!), or cartwheeling everywhere I go instead of merely walking.  Or simply pitching myself off the top of a hill and rolling all the way down, landing in a giggling heap at the bottom. Or perhaps the best, impromptu mattress surfing down a hill with other so-called adults, getting even more people to join in after they've come outside to tell us to pipe down. (Including the bit where I did a running, flying leap, performed a perfect mid-air arch, and missed the mattress by 3 feet, doing a face plant into the grass.)

I'm tired of being afraid.  Of worrying.  Of creating nightmare scenarios that, let's be honest, rarely come true (thankfully, lol!).  Of having great adventures in my head but not in my life, like some kind of anxiety-riddled Walter Mitty.

When I watch people create, I want to do the same.  When I see them be brave and take risks, I want to do the same.  Life isn't about being quiet, unless that is what you want.  It's not about creating a six-pack or having a body or a face everyone envies.  Not for me.  It's not about beating everyone else at some kind of "game," or having a mansion, or lording my success over my friends.  Because the people who give a rip about that stuff AREN'T friends!
My friends do things like show up at my dad's memorial, even though we live on different coasts and haven't been in the same room in 14 years. Or with whom I can fall back into conversation, even online conversation, as if the 17 years apart never happened.  They know if they need me I'll be there, in whatever way I can.
When I hear people say they are "just friends," I think it must be a fairly shallow relationship.  Because friendship, true, real friendship, is a profound, deep connection.  It may not be sexual or romantic, but there is true love. I mean, sure, we have the friends who we go shopping with, or have a beer with, or just call when we want to hang out. But then there are the friends who've been there for years.

OK.  Well.  As often happens, I started on one subject and rolled into another.  Which is cool.  It is, after all, a blog, not the Great American Novel.
So, I think I'll finish here.
Gotta go to work.


P.S., If you have a chance to see a movie called "Third Star," do!  (I watched it on YouTube.) Just make sure you watch it through the end, an have some tissues handy.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

It's Official!!!!

LG is an elementary school graduate!  He even walked across the stage to accept his diploma (with help from his teacher). He had the biggest smile on his face as he did so, and he's SO proud!
As are his mom & dad.  And his teachers.  And the principal...  There were more than a few tears shed, I can tell you.
Later it was time to say goodbye: to the school & to the teachers who have worked with him for 4 years. His main teacher cried a lot. I held it together, only because I know that later on tonight it's a going to hit me & I'll be bawling like a hungry newborn. I'll be sending her an email with all the thoughts I haven't yet been able to put into words. The good thing is, now we can all hang out! ;)

In other news, I went to see "Frankenstein" last night.  The casting was the reverse of what I'd expected, but after my initial disappointment that Benedict Cumberbatch wasn't playing The Creature, I just sat back to enjoy.
And I really, REALLY did!  It was AMAZING!!!!!! The best thing I've seen in a long, long time!  Everything was spectacular (even a very violent, difficult-to-watch scene towards the end).  And the cast was terrific.  (Why are the Brits so much better at colorblind casting?)  But I have to say, and I may be biased, that BC was phenomenal!!!!!!  The role of Victor is difficult: it could very easily roll over into melodrama, but he made it so moving and real and lovely.  And so different from anything else I've seen him do thus far.  He's so incredibly talented, and I find when I watch him that I'm inspired and think about performing again. He gives me something to aspire to.
(BTW, JLM was no slouch as The Creature, lol!)
I understand there are talks underway to release a DVD.  I hope they do, and I hope they put both performances on it.
It was also nice to see a nearly full theater.

So I'm on a bit of a high from these two events, as you can imagine.  Well, and the fact that we've just about finished donating all the books we wanted to get rid of.  And it only took about 37 trips to the library!

Update (Saturday): I was listening to an interview about the creation of "Frankenstein."  Turns out that Danny Boyle (who directed) and Nick Dear (the writer) both have sons with autism.  They brought the actors to a school for autistic kids.  The idea was to create a person who has the body of a grown man but the mind of a child. Naturally I found that really interesting, but also heartening: For one thing,the more autism is brought out into public life, in every way, the  less weird and scary it will seem.  A few decades ago, people in wheelchairs were scary, or the deaf, or the blind.  Now?  Not so much.
It also makes the portrayal of the Creature even more fascinating and, for me, more sympathetic, even with the awful things he does. After all, he learns that from the people around him.

And it's made me think. I realize I need to have more empathy for people who may be afraid of my kids.  They don't know them, after all.  What they see and hear are strange behaviors, weird noises, the inability to speak, etc.  They don't know that my kids are sweet, happy, funny, affectionate, and curious.  How could they know that? So a little patience and understanding on my part will probably go a long way.

Finally, it gives me hope that I can be a good mom to two autistic children and STILL be a creative person. I became ashamed of my profession when we lived in L.A.  I bought into the mindset that I didn't "deserve" to be an artist because I wasn't pretty/hot enough, yada yada yada.  It makes me sad that I used to be so proud of being an actor, and proud of my work, and I let myself buy into the shame.
I used to be really good.   Now, 9 years later, I have no idea if I am or not.
I AM glad I took a break.  I needed to spend time with my kids and to just be a mom.  But always, in the back of my mind, was the feeling of not deserving to be or call myself an artist.  Art, however, isn't hoighty-toighty, it's for everyone.
So maybe it's time for me to reclaim the title.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Things To keep In Mind, and A Farewell

If the kids don't, for some reason, get into summer school this year, it is NOT the end of the world.  Yes it will suck, but life as we know it won't come to a screeching halt.

Guilt, in this case, is useless.  I am working part time, taking care of the kids, filling out reams of paperwork to transfer them to a new school district, getting them their yearly medical check-ups, trying to get dental appointments with a dentist who knows how to treat autistic kids, packing, cleaning, transferring stuff, buying end-of-the-year gifts, going to variety shows and graduation ceremonies, and STILL taking care of the everyday crap like laundry, dishes, and food.

Hope for the best and work towards it, all the while ignoring the haters and ignorant, childish imbeciles who never matured past the age of 5, even though they are in adult bodies.  It's all I or anyone can do.

It's OK to actually TAKE the anti-anxiety meds my doctor prescribed for me.  They will, in fact, work.

The move WILL get done.  All will be well.  This is happening for a reason.

I can fight to keep WG in her current school, if need be.  But maybe, just maybe, I won't HAVE to.

Just when I think I'm going to explode, something happens like LG's teacher telling me she's going to GIVE us her pool!!!!!

Finally, my friend's dad passed away Monday night.  She and I have known each other since we were 4 years old.  I think I spent at least as much time at their house as at my own.  Her father kind of helped raise me.  I'll miss him terribly.
Rest in peace, Bill.  Maybe you and my dad can have a few celestial beers and reminisce.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Moving, Monsters, and Madness.

I just got my ticket to see "Frankenstein" at our local movie theater. It's the National Theater production, directed by Danny Boyle, with Johnny Lee Miller and (be still my theater-geek heart!) Benedict Cumberbatch.  The two switched off roles, with one playing Dr. Frankenstein and the other the Monster, then switching the next night. It was filmed live last year and is being shown at movie theaters, which is SUCH a great thing! (Next week is "The Teampest" with Christopher Plummer [!!!!!!!!], which I'd really like to see, but it's 3 days before the move.)

Guess which version I'm going to see?
(Actually, I'd LOVE to see both, but I have to work the first night.)
If you're interested, it's being shown around the world this Wednesday and Thursday at 7 PM.  You can find a list of theaters on the National Theatre website.

We're progressing on the move.  More and more stuff is being tossed, donated, or relocated. And, although I will miss my duck pal, I'm looking forward to having the move over and done with, getting settled, and having a fresh start.
I believe I mentioned that at the Shakespeare workshop I was at a few weeks ago I met up with a woman who was at the theater company at the same time I was, and that she's now running a Shakespeare program here at which I also worked, 12 years ago: small world! (And if you read that sentence once and were able to follow it, Bravo, lol!)
Anyway, we're going to get together and talk about the possibility of my teaching one of the workshops in the Fall. I'm also releasing my Thursday afternoon Pilates class at the Community Center.  It's a great class, with lovely clients, but I needed to figure out if it was worth it to drive from the new house in rush hour traffic to teach for 45 minutes, and drive back.  I don't think it is.
I also, truly, want to get back more into teaching the way I used to.  Not just doing a 10-week, once-a-week, residency that ends in a cute little show, but work that is really meaningful for me and, more importantly, for the students. I want to teach Shakespeare again.
I think I'm ready.

I'm still working the Emotional Brain Training program.  It's very helpful.  I also got a prescription for anti-anxiety meds, to be used as needed.  Just knowing they're there has a calming effect all it's own.  The human brain is a wondrous thing!
Over the past few years I've been hearing about changing the world by changing ourselves. And I really believe it.  If I react to stress by screaming and throwing things, for example, I'm going to scare my kids AND teach them that THAT is the way to react.  If I can change my own reactions, they'll learn something else.  Hopefully, something better and more productive and more conducive to their own health..  Because they learn a whole hell of a lot more from what I do than from what I say. Especially being such intuitive little creatures! And if I change the way I react to someone, it will also change the way they react to me.

This morning in yoga class, I had to take a few breaks AGAIN.  I was very tired and REALLY anxious, and quite sad.  But, once again, when I let go and just accepted that I needed to take a break, everything went more smoothly.  I could come back and get the benefits of the class.
I also reminded myself, later, that I didn't need a second workout today.  That, in fact, it would probably be counter-productive.  My body was telling me something, and I needed to listen.
Twice-a-day workouts, IMHO, are a once-in-a-while thing, not an everyday thing.  Unless one is an Olympic athlete.
Which I most definitely am not.
Unless they have a category for Worrying.  Then I'd DEFINITELY get the gold, lol!

Finally, I think, being anxious and premenstrual, I needed a good cry today.  And I gave it to myself by watching the last couple of scenes of "The Reichenbach Fall" from "Sherlock" again.  Talk about tearing your heart out, geez!  :)  Watching it online, as opposed to on the teeny-weeny-tiny-oonsy-woonsy TV we have in our bedroom, allows me to notice more details.  Like the tear that falls off of Sherlock's chin when he's talking to Watson on the phone, standing on the roof.  Which sent me into my bawl-fest, thankyouverymuch. And then Watson's voice when he says *SPOILER ALERT!* "Don't be dead."
Oy to the vey!
As one online commenter put it, "This show has wrecked my heart and ruined my life.  Y'know, in a good way!"


'Night all!